Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical extracellular viral particles contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.

Q: How can I continue to shop safely and reduce the risk of spreading or becoming infected with COVID-19?

A: As Texas enters “Phase Two” of the governor’s plan to reopen the state, more businesses and customers will begin to be out and about. As public spaces and businesses become more populated, there is still a risk for people to get sick with or spread COVID-19. To help people shop safely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered some guidelines. First, as always, if you are sick you should stay home and not leave your home to go to a public space. The CDC also continues to recommend that Americans wear a facial covering, which new research has shown can reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19.

Here is additional advice from the CDC on how to safely shop for groceries and other essentials:

  • If you can, order food and other items online for home delivery or curbside pickup, if available.
  • If you are going to a store in person, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If they do, try to shop during those hours.
  • While shopping, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • When you pay for your purchases, try to use a touchless form of payment, and pay without touching money, a card, or a keypad. If you do have to touch something, use hand sanitizer after you pay.
  • You should again use hand sanitizer after you leave the store.
  • When you get home, make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to

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